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So tonight I sit humbled at the endless ability of my children to surprise me by zigging when I expected them to zag. Metaphorically speaking, of course, I haven't started teaching the children combat manoeuvres, we have just been talking more about the US elections.

I had a little time with Alfie over the weekend, so in keeping with his preferred approach to learning, we had a chat about how two of the presidential hopefuls make us feel. I actually hadn't intended on showing Alfie much Trump footage, because despite being fine with watching the likes of Jurassic World, watching footage of that guy's rallies puts the fear of God in him, but BAD!

He actually caught me taking a break from cleaning toilets, on my phone, propping up a cold cuppa while I took in this video. Sidling up to me, he craned his neck to see my screen, shooting me one of his "watcha doing there?" looks before taking my wrist and slowly lowering it to his height.

OK, I thought, you want in on the action, let's go watch us some Trump.

The video is 13 minutes long, but it took us for-frickin-EVAR to get through it, because there were so many talking points to each segment.  

I have to admit that is the one positive thing I can say about Trump: He is a one man syllabus for social studies. 

We didn't just focus on the video; we chatted, just keeping things loose, and making the space to see where the conversation took us. We talked about minorities, social justice, and the idea of universal healthcare. 

It's probably important for me to tell you that Alfie has many talents, but the top two are climbing, and winding people up - not necessarily in that order - so when I say we talked about universal healthcare, what I really mean is he played me like a damn fiddle. 

According to Alfie, people should have to pay for healthcare.

No, I'm serious, he actually said that.

His logic - when I asked him in the sort of calm a voice I usually reserve for situations that would otherwise get me arrested - was that people have to work and pay for other things (like houses and clothes), why not healthcare?

I'm not sure whether I was more outraged at the fact that he had said those words, or that he had managed to push my buttons so damn easily. Alfie simply gave me the six year old version of mike drop and walk away.
Once I'd calmed down and stopped flaring my nostrils, it did get me to thinking; logically, he had a point. 

While I will defend to the death the moral imperative of universal healthcare, is the idea of paying for your health the more ... umm ... base logic? Alfie was quite right that other basic human needs are accepted as chargeable in our society, so why not apply the same logic to healthcare? Is the idea of a socialist society even something we can think of as "natural" or is it a human construct based on our attempts creating a more "advanced" society?

While Alfie sat at the Lego table exuding the air of smugness that comes with an argument decisively won, I took to the internet to do some learning of my own. I found an awesome video over on the Khan Academy looking at the concepts of Capitalism and Socialism and I did some thinking about the animal kingdom, and where they sit on the scale. 

Obviously I'm not saying that it is a perfect comparison - most animals don't have pockets in which to keep change for starters, which does somewhat limit their ability to embrace capitalism - but stripped of the intellectual choices of humankind, I wondered if I would find an example of an animal society choosing to support the less able members of their society.

The short answer? You bet your ass I did!

What I find interesting is that Orca sit waaaaaay up towards the top of the "animals who could totally beat you at chess" scale, so while it may not be a purely human desire to create an equitable society, maybe it is fair to say it is a more cerebral desire.

Either way, I just know that next time I come up with the bright idea of discussing life's big topics with the children, I will be more careful to do it without agenda. I will also be looking into debating groups for Alfie, y'know, so other people can enjoy his natural talents as much as we do.

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